Britons To Spend £166 Million On Pets This Xmas

  • 26/11/2018
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  • Two in three dog owners will buy their pets a present this year, research shows
  • Amazon's £129 Furbo dog camera could be a best seller this Christmas for pets
  • The device allows owners to go out of the house and see and speak to their dogs via an app
  • Every dog has its day, so they say. And for millions in Britain, it appears to be December 25.

    While the best presents many men can expect on Christmas Day are a pair of socks or aftershave, their so-called best friends receive far better treatment.

    Two in three dog owners will buy their pets a festive present this year, spending £166 million over the season, research suggests.

    Christmas treats and gifts for the family dog average out to £18.42, and this year that could include six Good Boy Mini Festive Christmas Mince Pies at £3.54, or a Pedigree Christmas Dog Stocking with a selection of chews and treats at £6.69.

    For the well-groomed hound, there is a ‘shampoo and set’ pack, which includes a bath, brush and ear cleaner starting at £35.

    And for owners who want to turn their terrier into a reindeer or their labrador into a lion (with an adjustable mane), there are numerous fancy dress costumes on the market. 

    The horror of festive-themed jumpers can also be shared by the family pet – matching dog and dad reindeer pullovers cost as little as £39.

    (Disclosure: IrishDogs.ie was sent a preview model of the Furbo to test and review). Today’s pets can also join the household tech revolution. The Furbo Dog camera is listed as a bestseller with Amazon despite its £129 price tag.

    The camera allows owners who have to leave their dog home alone for a short time over Christmas to watch and speak to their pet via video and microphone in real time using a smartphone app. It will even dispense treats on demand.

    In fairness to the Furbo, it does what it 'says on the tin', albeit at an inordinately hefty price tag (even when discounted for Xmas).

    furbo.jpg

    Setting up the app and connecting your phone to the Furbo was incredibly simple and it works well away from home when checking in on the camera. However, all the photos of dogs leaping around in apoplectic joy when the Furbo 'ejects' a treat was not mirrored with my brood, who, to a dog, totally ignored the contraption which, rather than 'ejecting' the treats (a sample which were provided with the Furbo) just dejectedly 'spat' them out and dribbled a few extras out as well for good measure. As for 'talking' to your dog with this the sound quality of the unit was sufficiently acceptable for my dogs to simply raise their heads from their slumber and then also ignored it completely. After all, since when does your human 'parent' talk to you from a strange looking yolk that spits out treats onto the floor?

    All in all, I would only rate the Furbo at 3/10 simply because it is a glorified CCTV in the home with a posh exterior and questionable dispensing ability. If you have the odd £129 that you want to dump on watching your dog from wherever you are, then go ahead and buy one. For me, in all honesty, I would rather spend that amount on something entirely different.

    Not surprisingly, average annual spending on Britain’s nine million dogs has risen from £1,252 to £1,342 in two years, says American Express, which commissioned the research ahead of Small Business Saturday this weekend.

    The lion’s share is made up of food, insurance and vet’s bills.

    However, more than £200 of the total goes on toys and treats and another £200 is spent on grooming, including trims and massages.

    A spokesman for American Express said: ‘We hope dog lovers will show their support for the pet stores, grooming parlours and other independent pet businesses that serve them and their best friends, by shopping small this Saturday.’ 

    The initiative is aimed at supporting local, independent retailers during the crucial Christmas period as they combat the rise of online stores. 

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